This past week was a mixed bag of activity and emotions. Each fall I work on a project for a nonprofit education organization, the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education. Last week I had to travel to Athens, GA to go over hotel and conference center arrangements for the trip. It was special meeting though.
I wasn’t meeting with just any conference center sales person. My contact there is a friend I have known for most of my life. We grew up in the same small northern New Jersey town, went to school and church together and participated in many of the same activities over the years.
Years later Elizabeth moved to Atlanta after I had been here a few years. When my mother was diagnosed with cancer, then later died, Elizabeth was there to support and comfort me. I was pregnant with my first baby during this time. Elizabeth and her husband, Ron, were the first visitors to the hospital when my oldest son was born. Later when my husband’s position in a hotel in Texas didn’t work out, Elizabeth flew out and drove my car back to Georgia for me. I was pregnant with our second son at the time.
So last week as I drove to Athens I began to remember all the times this life long friend was there to help me during some of the worst, and some of the happiest, times of my life. As I drove along I found myself choking up. It won’t be long until my first-born son will be deployed to Afghanistan. There I was about to see the one friend who, by the grace of God, has been near by at my most difficult life moments.
You see, Elizabeth is one of the most loyal of friends and compassionate people I know. She is the type of friend you can go months or years not seeing, but pick up right where you left off when you do talk. She is very bright, witty, extremely smart, and creative. And she is a Navy spouse. Her husband, Ron, is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. When I am around Elizabeth I feel more energized, I also feel at home.
Our meeting and property tour went as most do, but with a special time to visit over lunch. When I arrived at the conference center the emotions around the pending deployment of my son that had choked me up during the trip just disappeared. The joy of being in the company of a good friend totally overwhelmed the anxiety of sending a child to war.
This next year I think I’ll make more trips to Athens.